Korean journalist seeks to spread Pope’s message of peace
University student Sun-Joo Pae assists international press at the KBS stand inside the media center at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
University student Sun-Joo Pae assists international press at the KBS stand inside the media center at the Lotte Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.
by Elise Harris
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.- A journalist with South Korea’s leading radio and television network has voiced her joy at covering the papal visit, as well as her desire for his message of peace to lead the nation to a more hopeful future.

“South Korea is (a) divided nation, so I think the Pope’s visit is important for us because he always cares about the people who are poor or in conflict,” Charlotte Huh told CNA Aug. 14.

“If he gives us a message peace and reconciliation then Korea will change, or step forward to a good future with hope.”

Huh is originally from South Korea’s second largest city of Busan, and has been working with the Korean Broadcasting System for the past five months.

Founded in 1927, KBS is the largest out of the four key television networks in South Korea, and it also serves as the host organization for international media traveling to cover Pope Francis’ trip.

Huh explained that “this is a big event and the Pope’s coming is meaningful for me. I want to deliver the Pope’s message to viewers. I think he will give us a hopeful message.”

Pope Francis' South Korean visit was announced in March, following an invitation from South Korean president Park Geun-hye and the bishops of Korea. The visit began Aug. 14 with a special arrival ceremony at the apostolic nunciature and a courtesy visit to the presidential palace.

After his visit to the presidential palace and address to President Park, the first woman in the country to be elected, the Pope met with local bishops.

In their coverage of the event, Huh explained that KBS has “a lot of branches” extending over different areas of society. Huh works with the cultural branch that is in charge of reporting on the papal visit; she usually reports on social affairs and local news.

Since not everyone is allowed to attend the papal events, local journalists are attempting bring “other issues about the Pope’s visit” into the spotlight, she observed.

“Like in my case I am reporting on foreign press visiting Korea, security, volunteers, and people who are waiting for the Pope’s visit,” she said. 

Pope Francis’ presence in South Korea marks his first trip to Asia as pontiff, and is the first time a Pope has visited the country since John Paul II came in 1989.

Because of this “many foreign journalists are visiting Korea and they want to spread the message of the Pope,” Huh noted, and said she will find it interesting how international agencies “are covering this big event.”

University student Sun-Joo Pae, 21, studies metalwork but is helping the television network in their 24 hour live broadcast of the Pope’s events and audiences by providing information to international media in English.

Hired only for the week of the papal visit, Pae explained to CNA Aug. 14 that she is “very excited and very proud of KBS” because “I am very young, I’m a college student, and this is my first time doing translation.”

“It’s very humbling to have these things and to explain (them) to the international press, who are from very famous agencies. So it’s very humbling for me.”

Although she is not Catholic, Pae is Christian and explained that the Pope’s presence in her country is “very welcoming. I’m pretty excited to see him on television and tell the foreign press about him. It’s very exciting.”

“I heard that the reason for his visit, the biggest reason, was for the Asian Youth Day, and you know, I’m the youth who is in Asia, so I would like to search for what he said after the event,” she explained.

“I’m not Catholic, but I’m very pretty excited because Catholics and Christians are very similar, so I would like to search for (what he says) and see it after this event.”

Tags: Media, Pope Francis, South Korea

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